Table of Contents
- Are there Bots in Marvel Snap?
- What Facts Do We Know About Bots?
- So How Do I Recognise A Bot In Game?
- Okay, Is There Outside-Of-Game Ways I Can Be More Certain?
- Closing Thoughts
Ever wonder if your opponent was actually a bot? Did they let me win, or was I that good? In this article, we will break down the ins and outs of bots, why they exist, how to spot one, and more! The original guide and video by HowlingMines is meant to be an evolving article, so we will update it as we learn more about bots or as bots get changed. So check back if you wonder if things have changed in the future!
Bots have a lot of hidden information, and are rarely discussed by the development team: Hense the demand for more information about them. During those limited discussions, the development team has made it very clear that bots will continue to evolve, and they will attempt to make them as “human” as possible going forward, placing countermeasures in place to stop us being so aware or attempting to “game” the bots – as a result, there’s a chance information in this video and article will become out of date quickly regardless of how much research and effort we’ve put in. We will of course, attempt to keep it up to date as more information becomes available.
Are there Bots in Marvel Snap?
Yes there are. These bots are not ones that players can program to play for them (those are against the TOS and systems are in place to detect and ban those). Instead, these are bots that act as your opponent for the duration of a match. But why do we need them if the game has plenty of players? Well, it boils down to a few reasons:
To begin with, bots are a vital part of the “new player journey”. You only play bots up until Rank 10, and pretty consistently up until Rank 30/Gold. This is because, quite simply, new players don’t stick around if they’re getting repeatedly beaten, and so crushing bots will often help not only boost their confidence in the game, but also keep them winning long enough to become invested and be able to learn the mechanics. Marvel Snap is targeted at being the most beginner friendly CCG on the market, so they want players to learn how to play a card game for the first time and be good at it.
However, once you leave the shelter of that experience, Bots don’t suddenly “go away” – in fact, how they work against you evolves quite significantly (We break down the different types of bots later in this article!) – but they’re still very important. Second Dinner really wants to keep the matchmaking queue time at roughly five seconds, and you’ll know from our Matchmaking Guide that several factors are taken into account when pairing you against an opponent. If there is not enough people online that meet those parameters, the game will give you a bot opponent as to not keep you waiting around.
This tends to mean those at exceptionally high ranks play against a lot of bots, and if you’re at a very high rank very early in the season, you’re more likely to as well.
Lastly, bots solve an intrinsic problem of Marvel Snap: Cube Distribution.
If the only way to gain cubes is to beat other players for their cubes (plus a few extra levels whenever you reach a “rank floor”), then we’d have a finite amount of cubes, and only a certain amount of people could reach infinite each month. Another way to say that is the game would become a “Zero-Sum game”, in which one persons gain is another persons loss. That basically would lock out players from ranking up if you could only climb by taking cubes from someone else.
Bots offer a way to inject more cubes into the system at no cost to any single player since they don’t need cubes, singlehandedly solving this problem. This is the biggest indicator that bots are here to stay. They are just going to continue to improve and become “more human” over time.
What Facts Do We Know About Bots?
There’s a load of different types and tiers:
A.I. like Agatha Harkness and Ego are designed to play completely randomly, but the average matchmaking bot is not. Files for the latest huge list of bot names for the latest patch (January 31, 2023 version 11.18.1) has been datamined by the team working on the Marvel Snap Tracker and MarvelSnap.pro, filled with Known Bot Names and Bot Types, which we’ll offer more details on throughout the article.
There are 3 major types of names listed:
- “Real Player” – unsurprisingly, this is exactly what it sounds like, this name meets some of the traditional bot naming conventions, but mimics the name of an actual player. Since Marvel Snap allows duplicate names, if a player uses the same name as listed here, you’ll have to discern if they’re a bot some other way.
- “Human” – Hilariously, this is anything but. These are the bots you’ll commonly play against during that Rank 10-30 window. They have names that are composed of one-word first names, or a compound name that contains an adjective (Prefixes) and a noun (Postfixes). These are the “weakest” type of bot, that doesn’t really understand the game, struggles to read the board and locations, cannot see your plays or your hand, and just looks to try and keep initiative, spend all the energy, and stay ahead as much as possible.
- “LSTM” – Stands for long short-term memory, this is the label for the bots that everyone hates, and the ones you’ll often face at higher MMRs. Often called “Cheaty” bots, these are the ones that can see some upcoming plays before they make their own, are believed to be able to see the cards in your hand, and are at least *better* at reading locations. This doesn’t mean they cannot be outwitted or played into. Their names are generated using a special neural network.
They’re Designed To Look As Human As Possible:
Not a popular choice, but Second Dinner doesn’t want you to be able to easily tell if you’re playing a bot in future, so expect constant adjustments and updates.
Locations Are Not Their Strong Suit:
Bots aren’t the best at reading a location and knowing what will happen. As a couple of examples: The location Kyln locks down after turn 4 ends. Bots don’t read that and plan how they should dedicate resources to that location (or not). Instead they likely will play cards into a random lane, or match the lane you play into that turn. Another example is a bot could play cards into a location like Murder World because it doesn’t understand the cards will be destroyed in an upcoming turn.
This is another factor that is constantly improving though, prominent player Agent Carter has thousands of games into bots since Beta, and has been carefully tracking their behaviours all that time – they’ve made several observations about each individual location here, but it’s important to note that, while definitely worth checking out, none of those observations are in any way confirmed.
Bot Games Effect Your MMR, But Not The Same Way As A Player:
We have to infer that “differently” here means less, but this does confirm that losing to or beating up on bots repeatedly will inform your future matchmaking.
Bot Decks Are Custom Built By The Dev Team, And Are Inspired By Current Player Meta Decks:
The decks played by bots are built by the design team, and you’ll play against different ones based on your Collection Level, MMR and progression – this includes the rarity of the bots cards too! Back in September, these decks were updated to reflect popular meta decks of players at the time, and Second Dinner intends to continue to do similar updates as metagames evolve.
So How Do I Recognise A Bot In Game?
As of now, bots do not use avatars from the current season pass, so if you see those, it is definitely a real player.
As mentioned above, “Human” bots that you’ll mostly bump into in lower ranks tend to follow two naming conventions: one-word first names, or a compound name that contains an adjective and a noun. Bots at a higher level have been updated to have much more unpredictable and unique names, so don’t let the name alone convince you it is a bot.
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that bots can emote, though this is likely to evolve in the future. So if your opponent is using emotes, it is most likely a player.
Another tip is to look at their variants! Bots often have odd upgrades to cards. This would be like seeing Sword Master be played and have the base art with a default Grey border, but they also play a Morbius variant that is gold foil with Kirby Dots. It’s very unlikely a player has never upgraded Sword Master at least once (since Grey borders offer the highest upgrade to credit ratio), but even less likely they also have a multi-upgrade variant on a different card.
The devs also seem to have an obsession with displaying Kirby Krackle splits on bots. Kirby Krackle are the rarest split, so it is uncommon for a player to have multiple of these splits in the same deck (though not impossible). So if you see your opponent play multiple cards with Kirby Dots, it might be a sign it’s a bot.
Bots may also use a variety of Card Backs at their disposal, such as ones from previous Season Passes. They will not, however, use cardbacks from the current season.
Lastly, many bots are prone to snapping to increase the stakes if they’re incredibly ahead on two locations: Importantly, when they do, it’s always at the VERY START of the turn, like IMMEDIATELY! So if your opponent took their time to think, or snapped at the very end, you’re likely not against a bot. Believe it or not, bots can alao snap on turn 1 (right when the match starts).
Okay, Is There Outside-Of-Game Ways I Can Be More Certain?
Sure, if you’re willing to do a bit of the hard work.
- You can find evidence in the game log files after a game. This can be found (on Android) in /android/data/com.nvsgames.snap/files/standalone/states/nvprod – sadly, I do not have the PC or Apple location to hand, but I’ll update this when I do, and I image it’s quite similar – at the end of each game, your opponent will have their entire decklist, the deck name, and the card that boosters were assigned to printed into a human-readable .json file, which is overwritten each and every match. If you go looking, and you played against a bot, their deck name should just be “Deck” – and no card will have been assigned boosters.
- If you, ya know, don’t wanna go digging in game files – there is another way we mentioned above: You can check it against the lovely list of bot names and types provided to me by Kirallas. Simply check the name of your opponent, and you’ll have yourself an answer. Keep in mind this list still isn’t definitive though, as it is for an older patch and more players join the game every day!
Bots are an integral part of making Snap a fast paced game. Their ability to keep que times low and infuse the ladder with plenty of cubes is a vital part of the game’s ecosystem. While bots typically are easier to face than humans, there are some higher level ones that you should be mindful of so that your cubes don’t get stolen by a “cheater bot”. Using the identifier techniques we mentioned above, you should be able to more often spot a bot and know the appropriate time to take some easy cubes, or back out when you know the match is nearly impossible.
If you liked this article, be sure to let us know! Also make sure to share it so that other players (especially new players) can learn more.
If you’d like to discuss any of this further, provide something we missed, or just let us know what you think about it all – Please feel free to contact us on Twitter @MarvelSnapZone or over in our dedicated community Discord server!
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